It’s not every day that we hear about a whole new machine entering the console race, so when an actual announcement is made it’s always a big deal. Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, sent an earthquake of incredible proportions when he first made mention of the company’s next system during an investor’s briefing which took place last Spring.
Wow, time really does fly! It’s been almost a year since the NX was first spoken of. So in that space of time, what’s been happening with it? Okay, so we know it is codenamed the ‘NX’ and Nintendo plans to use it to achieve high profits again. Anything else? Oh yes, how could I have forgotten: we have enough rumors to fill the whole state of Texas—twice!
Any time something that’s being kept confidential becomes known to the public, there will almost always be an abundance of rumors that surround it. Whether it’s the government of a country passing a bill for a new law, or a super-celebrity’s relationship status—secrecy and rumors go hand-in-hand. For gamers, rumors are constantly being churned out, dealing with things like unannounced potential projects and, of course, brand new hardware. For Nintendo, it’s been almost a full 12 months of non-stop rumors and speculation pouring in from all sides.
Mr. Iwata explained that the reason why he announced the NX at that briefing was to avoid causing alarm from the announcement that he made just before that—Nintendo’s new partnership with mobile giant, DeNA. He didn’t want people to think that the Big N was turning their attention away from traditional systems and games. Now then, I think that does make sense considering the fact that the gaming community is filled with knee-jerk reactors who only take things at face value. However, in the wake of that announcement, Nintendo has created a far bigger problem—expectations.
With the announcement of the NX having been made, the gaming community lit up in a wildfire of discussion. While many people were throwing in their two cents on the matter, one common statement that I kept seeing appear over and over was: “Yes! Bring it out! Bring it out! Down with Wii U!” Without any context whatsoever, people already had in their minds that the NX was the successor to the troubled Wii U, and they wanted it now. After that, many started speculating that the delay of the equally mysterious upcoming Zelda title, which was announced a few weeks prior, was due to the fact that Nintendo was bringing the game to the new system. As time has gone on, more and more rumors have surfaced, all of which have added to the already large amount of speculation.
Now, this article isn’t about trying to figure out what rumors are true or false, but rather, it’s about the effect that the rumors have had.
Nintendo’s silence has allowed for some giant rumors to sprout, all of which are influencing people’s speculation.
With Nintendo’s continued silence about the NX, more and more rumors have sprouted, all of which have been influencing people’s outlook about the system. From details about its power, to what developers are working on games for it, all of that is under intense investigation by fans and journalists alike. The problem is, this could spell disaster. How? Well, when Nintendo does finally go ahead and reveal the system, everyone’s going to be wondering the same thing—what rumors were true, and what were false? The element of surprise is still there, but after the months of eating up rumor after rumor and arguing over what makes sense and what doesn’t, we can end up with something that nobody was expecting, and possibly, for the worse.
To illustrate the situation, think of this scenario. Imagine that a friend of yours gave you a call and said: “Hey. There’s a present waiting for you when you get home and it’s tech-related. Look forward to it.” Naturally, you’re going to immediately start wondering what exactly it is. “A phone? No, a tablet. Maybe a smart watch?” — are the thoughts that you’re more than likely going to have. So from the time that your friend called you, you’re just going to be agonizing over exactly what it is, but you still have to wait to get home. Naturally, you may start thinking about specific things, maybe your expectations are even a bit extravagant. Either way, you’re just going to have to wait to find out.
Just by your friend saying that there’s a gift for you, creates a slightly more risky form of surprise. Because you’ve been given the tip off, then your imagination is just going to start running wild, and as a result, it may end up being something completely different than what you expect—which includes it possibly falling far under your expectations. This is the situation that Nintendo has run into with the NX—between their continued level of silence and all the different rumors, the NX could end up being far different than what most are expecting, and potentially for the worse.
Now imagine if this scenario was different: imagine if instead of that friend telling you that there’s a gift waiting for you, instead, you go home and walk through the door and meet a box on the table. Now that’s a surprise! The only time for you to speculate would be the few seconds between you seeing the box and opening it up. True, it can still end up being a disappointment, but there was no way to tell.
In like manner, Nintendo could have, and frankly, should have gone with this approach. Once again, I understand Mr. Iwata’s reasoning behind the initial announcement, but it’s quite obvious that it shouldn’t have been made. Why? Because Nintendo hasn’t said anything else; they weren’t ready to talk about it, and they still aren’t. If it were me, I would have said something different. “While are making our way into the mobile industry, we would like to make it clear that we have absolutely no intentions of leaving our traditional business. We have various major projects for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, some of which are unannounced. We hope that you all look forward to these exciting new titles, which you will be playing in the very near future.”
Something along the lines of that would have sufficed. It’s not like Mr. Iwata would have been lying if he said something like that. Rather, Nintendo would have been in a much less complicated situation. For the past year, the Wii U’s achievements have been downplayed and tossed aside in favor of a constant reminder of its mistakes. Nintendo has been put under intense scruntiny, with many wondering if their next system is capable of sending the company back into the fight with the rest of the competition. If that one announcement wasn’t made, then Nintendo could have pulled the rug from under everyone’s feet by coming to E3 this year with the announcement of a brand-new system. While they still have the potential to do the same thing, now they have to worry about meeting everyone’s already high expectations and in contrast, many others’ high level of doubt and worry.
Ultimately, what happens in the next three months will surely be monumental. Let’s hope it all works out for the absolute best.